Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Break Out of Approval Addiction...

Wanted to share this excerpt from the book, *His Princess Warrior:

Break Out of Approval Addiction
My Princess Warrior, Today I am asking you to search your heart and answer this question: Whom do you seek for approval? Are you living your life for the approval and praise of people, or of Me? I want to save you from exhausting yourself by performing for a world that does not want to praise you. I designed you to desire Me and Me alone. When you choose to live for Me, you will never again be thirsty for attention, because you will be hydrated in My love and adoration for you. Now let Me ask you again, My beloved daughter: Whose praise do you seek?
Love, Your King who seeks after you

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of God. Galatians 1:10

A Prayer to Live for God's Approval
Princess Warrior! I pray that you will find the thrill of knowing your Father in heaven adores you and loves to shower you with praise. I pray you will be forever free from the bondage of needing the praises of people. May your empty cup be filled up daily with God's love. May you be able to pour out His love on others because you are full. May you never forget how much the Lord loves you and how precious you are to Him. In Jesus' name, Amen.

And may the Lord our God show us His approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful! Psalm 90:17

I know this spoke to me and I hope it speaks to your heart as well.
Rejoicing in Truth!

*His Princess Warrior, Love Letters for Strength from Your Lord, by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shining Through...

When I was about 4-years old, my older sister and two older cousins were throwing rotten apples over cars as they drove past our house. Of course, I wanted to be like the big kids so I picked up an apple to pitch over the next car that passed by. The next car happened to be a shiny red sports car. As I threw the apple the other kids yelled out, “DON’T do it! You’ll never make it over!”… It was too late; the deed had already been done and the decaying apple hit with a “splat” right into the car window. The woman in that car slammed on the brakes and put the car in reverse. What did we do? We high-tailed it into our back yard to hide.

Even 40 years later, my first natural response is to run and hide when I don’t want to deal with real life. I am learning when I run or hide from my problems all that does is make me “ugly” on the inside and causes my attitude to be ugly on the outside too.

Exodus 34 talks about Moses going up the mountain to worship and commune with God. It was in those forty days that Moses “saw” God and when he came back down to the children of Israel, “his face was shining brightly because the LORD had been speaking to him,” (Exodus 34:29). The children of Israel were afraid to look at him so he covered his face with a veil, so they couldn’t see the glory of God shining from his face. But we read in II Corinthians 3:13-16 that as time went on and real life happened, the glory shining from Moses’ face was fading, but he continued to keep the veil on so no one would know… he was putting up a facade.

I know I have been guilty of the same… posing and pretending that because I am a Christian… everything is just fine. Do you ever do that… do you ever have difficulty being transparent?  All across the world people are going to church… putting on their religious faces, looking fine in their Sunday best while on the inside they are not fine at all. The really sad part is that if you play that charade long enough you can start to believe it. Most people around you may never know what is really going on inside you, but your heart always knows. As sisters and brothers through Christ, we should be able to be completely transparent with one another. We need to find those people we can truly trust and drop our “veil”… just be real about our short-comings. Living an authentic life might sound like too much exposure, but sharing what is in your heart is freedom.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” II Corinthians 3:17

You just never know who might be struggling with the same issue and by you opening up… that could be their lifeline to true freedom in Christ. Pretending is bondage… honesty is freedom.

You are a masterpiece, created by God… recognize that… start behaving like one. Pretending to be what you are not is like putting a “paint-by-number” clown over the Mona Lisa. God made you the way you are to live a real life to glorify Him. It is only when we become completely transparent that the glory of God can be seen shining from within us.

“And all of us, as with unveiled face, we continued to behold the Word of God as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.” II Corinthians 3:18

When we pose and pretend or run and hide… we aren’t giving God the chance to do a work in us and through us. It is only when we admit to our shortcomings and weaknesses that God can be our strength… total dependence and trust in Him is real life as a precious child of God.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
The next time someone asks you how you are, will you just say, “fine” or will you give an honest answer?  I pray for us all to stop peeking from behind the “veil” and that we let our walls come tumbling down… let God’s light come shining through!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hmmm, Change...

C-H-A-N-G-E!  I don’t know about you but all my life I have fought against change.  I like the familiar.  I like being in my comfort zone.  I am a “planner”… I am sure some of you can relate.  However, over the last few years God has really worked on me in this area.  He has shown me that my reluctance to change is actually my lack of trust in Him… I have let my fears and insecurities come before my faith in my Almighty Father.

From the moment we are born we are constantly changing, much of what we never even think about because it is just natural.  Some change is enjoyable for me though… changing my hair color… changing my clothes… changing around my furniture.  Those are fun and non earth-shattering changes, but what happens when things are changing around me that I have no control over or even health changes?  What about when God has called me to change something I am doing or maybe starting to serve Him in a different way… what then?

When we are unwilling to change, then we are putting limits on God and the abundant life He has called us to.  I heard someone say recently that we can choose to live our life in pity or in power.  As Believers we have the power of God living inside us, so we are already equipped for change and a life without limits for God.  There is no mountain He cannot move in our lives.  There is no problem that is too big.  There is no heart broken enough that He cannot heal it.  There is no change that He cannot help us through.

Do you want to experience all you can from God in your life?  He wants to bless you in indescribable ways… the only thing that can stop that in your life is your lack of faith or disobedience.  Are you ready to take that first step to accept the change God has asked of you?  Are you ready to have Him open the windows of Heaven for you to pour out a blessing (Malachi 3:10)?  Are you ready to trust Him enough to give you a life greater than you could dare to imagine?

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him… forever and ever. Ephesians 3:20-21

Now is the time to lift your hands in surrender to the changes God has for you in your life.  You are His chosen child!  He will give you dreams beyond your comprehension.  Will you choose today to live a life for God without limits?  Are you willing to embrace change?  Just remember God created you the way you are, but also that He loves you so much He wants you to keep growing and changing. 

It makes my heart race just thinking of the incredible adventure He wants to share with us… if we are willing to let Him have it all!

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

What has God shown you in your life about change?  Is God doing a work in you… through you?  Is that your desire to be used by Him... wherever He leads through whatever change may come along?

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Philippians 1:6

There is One thing that never changes and that is God… His Word… His love… His plan for your life. Read Isaiah 40 to see more of how God will stand forever.

Just remember, “If nothing ever changed there would be no butterflies!”

Rejoicing in Truth!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No More Guilt!!!

I have heard a lot of people say, “I feel so guilty!”  I have said it myself many times.  Guilt is something most all of us struggle with.  For example, if you are a mom, you feel guilty if you do somethingfor yourself.  If you are a wife, you might feel guilty for doing something with your girlfriends.  If you are a working mom, you feel guilty for being away from your kids.  If you are trying to eat healthy or lose weight, and that ice cream starts calling your name and you indulge, you feel guilty. You get the point… GUILT! Where does that feeling of guilt come from?

First of all guilt is not from God!  If you are a Believer your guilt was covered at the cross… your shame was covered by our Father… we are covered by His extravagant love!  (Romans 8:10) When you think about that how can you not be in wonder???  That should make us want to experience more of God.  We need to be in God’s Word everyday to remember, see, and believe His awesomeness every day!

In 2 Peter 1, Peter is writing about the virtues of a Believer.  Through Jesus Christ’s divine power we have been given all things to live a godly life… He has called us to glory and virtue!  By being in God’s Word we are shown His “exceeding great and precious promises.”  Through this we have His divine nature to escape the corruption and lusts of the world.

In verses 5-7, I love that he gives us the pattern for living with virtue… “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”

We can know these things and be established in His Truth, but we still need to be reminded… like it says in verse 12, do not be neglectful to help others to remember.

Even if you have not yet become a Believer in Jesus Christ, your guilt has been covered at the cross, and to have your guilt and shame lifted off of you all you need to do is repent of your sins and accept Him as your Savior.  In Romans 10:9-13 it says, If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”… They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Lord, I thank You that You have given us all we need to live a life that will give You glory.  I pray we would remember it is only through Your Son we have what it takes to live a righteous life.  Help us not to carry guilt over things we do not need to carry. Thank You for covering our guilt with Christ’s blood that we can take part in Your divine nature.  I pray we will choose to live a life free from the tangles of shame and regret.  I pray we will always be ready to repent from our sin so the enemy is not able to use our guilt to keep us where he wants us.  I thank You for Your amazing love that pulled us out of our guilt into a new life in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~Rejoicing in Truth~